Your Guide to Parental Leave Laws
Today we’re going to take a closer look at how Australia, the UK, and the US implement maternity and paternity leave.
Australia Parental Leave
According to the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman website, employees are entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave when they or their spouse or partner gives birth.
Regular employees are qualified for parental leave if they have been working for an employer for at least 12 months before the date of birth. Casual employees are also qualified if they have been working for their employer on a regular basis for at least 12 months before the date of birth.
Australia also has paid maternity leave. According to the Department of Human Services, qualified mothers get 18 weeks pay at minimum wage while recovering from childbirth and taking care of their newborn. This is funded by the government but paid through the employer. The business has to register in order for their staff to receive this benefit.
UK Parental Leave
The United Kingdom has different guidelines for maternity and paternity leave, as stated on the gov.uk website.
UK Maternity Leave
Qualified mothers are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, broken down as:
- First 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave, and
- The last 26 weeks of additional maternity leave
Mothers are not compelled to take the entire 52-week entitlement, but they are required to take 2 weeks time off after the baby is born. If the mother works in a factory, they are required to take 4 weeks time off.
They can start as early as 11 weeks before the expected birth week.
In addition, mothers are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay or SMP up to 39 weeks of their leave. They’ll receive:
- 90% of their average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks, and
- £140.98 or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks
To qualify, the mother has to be classified as an employee (which they can find out here.) There is no minimum time a mother has to work with her current employer the government requires in order to receive this entitlement.
UK Paternity Leave
Qualified husbands or partners of the newborn’s mother can get up to two weeks time off from work. They can only start after the birth of their child and must end within 56 days after the birth date.
Throughout their time off, husbands or partners receive statutory paternity pay of £140.98 or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.
To qualify, the husband or partner has to be classified as an employee and has been working for their employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.
US Parental Leave
On the Federal level, the United States Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA entitle 12 weeks of unpaid maternity and paternity leave for qualified mothers and their partners.
For employees to be qualified, first they have to be working for a “covered employer.” They should either be:
- A private sector employer that has employed 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year
- A local, state, or Federal government agency, regardless of the number of employees it employs
- A public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of employees it employs
The employee also has to be working with the employer at least 12 months with at least 1250 hours of service before their leave.
Finally, the employee must work at a location where the employer has 50 employees within 75 miles.
Different states supplement this federal law with their own version of parental leave laws, with some offering partial pay.
Stress-Free Parental Leave with Leave Management Software
Tanda’s leave management feature makes it easy to file and approve maternity and paternity leave. Administrators can create a special leave type in Tanda for maternity and paternity leave that their staff can apply for via the employee portal. Once filed, managers instantly see it on the dashboard for their approval. The maternity leave request in Tanda can then be linked to your accounting system and paid out to the employee.
Events & Media AU |
Is this the end of the ‘Great Aussie Sickie’?
The ‘Great Aussie Sickie’ is becoming a myth in Australian workplaces as the number of Australians cashing in on sick leave for the post-Australia Day long weekend decreases. We recently conducted a survey and found that more employees are opting to take annual leave instead of the stereotypical ‘sickie’. We’d analysed the number of single day leave requests submitted by employees for Friday 27th January. The sample consisted of over 20,000 randomly selected employees from more than 500 Australian businesses, with the majority working in hospitality, retail, quick service restaurants, medical and manufacturing. It was found that sick leave requests for the 27th of January were down 24% on the January median, however, requests for annual leave were up 481% on the 27th compared to other days of the month. This data suggests that Australian’s are giving up on the sickie, opting to follow the rules and take annual leave instead. Potentially saving businesses millions over the Australia Day weekend. Our Co-Founder Alex Ghiculescu was surprised by the findings, saying that “there’s always been this idea that ‘chucking a sickie’ is an integral part of the Australian workplace culture. So it’s surprising to see the opposite occurring after Australia Day.” Ghiculescu said, “I think when employees have access to a system that allows them to view and input their leave for themselves, that they are more likely to use leave allowances correctly.” It is important that businesses have the correct tools and means to manage employee leave accurately and appropriately. When asked about the future of the ‘sickie’ Ghiculescu said, “I think further research into the effects of technology and best business practices would go a long way in helping businesses to manage employee leave in the future.”
Industry Insights |
Top 3 Leave Management Problems of Businesses
Employees do take time off work. That is why leave management is an important part of the business. It’s a tricky process regardless if you have five people or five hundred people on your team. This is especially true if you’re still using old-school methods such as using paper forms or Excel spreadsheets for leave management. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the top three problems that occur with leave management, as well as how we can solve them with software. Problem #1: Difficulty for Employees to File Leave Requests and Finding Out Their Leave Balances You can be barraged time and time again by your employees not only to request for time off but also to ask how much leave time they have left in a year. This can take you away from your daily tasks, costing you valuable time. When employees can’t see immediately their leave balances, it’ll make it difficult for them to file requests. This can frustrate them, leading to increased job dissatisfaction. Problem #2: Employers Finding it Hard to Approve Leave Requests from Multiple People From time to time, two or more employees will request for a leave for the same day. Obviously, you cannot let all of them take time off at the same time. But who should you approve? For you to make the right decision, you’ll need a lot of information. You’ll need to know the reason why they are filing for leave, upcoming personal events (such as birthdays), and which shifts will clash with their time off. Problem #3: Payroll Errors Manually processing employee leave has a huge impact on payroll processing. Some employees are entitled to both paid and unpaid leave, which means that you have to take that into account come payroll time. And sometimes leave forms can be misplaced, making it easy to miss come payroll time. These mistakes can affect both the bottom line and your employee’s paycheck. It can make you pay someone for time off they haven’t earned. It can also lead to you deducting someone’s pay for time off they’ve earned, which can harm your relationship with that employee. The Solution: Cloud-Based Leave Management Software You can overcome the challenges that come with managing employee time off with cloud-based leave management software. Switching to it allows your business to automate the process, reducing the overall time spent for filing and approving leave requests, as well as updating leave balances. When considering getting leave management software for your business, choose those that simplify things for everyone. Look for a system that lets employees know their up-to-date leave balances before even filing their request. Finally, make sure that the software also integrates well with your payroll system to streamline pay calculation.
Product Updates |
We’re changing leave, especially manual corrections. Here’s how.
Key takeaways We are building towards fully automated leave Features are released in stages over the next 3-6 months Eventually, staff can just enter the leave start and end date We’ll apply the correct hours every time All managers have to do is review and approve Our vision: never having to manually correct leave. Ever. Released in stages over the next 3-6 months We are making leave entry completely automated. In the next few months, you’ll be seeing a series of features, with each release letting you check and approve leave requests faster. The end goal: never having to manually correct leave ever again. Ultimate leave automation: applying contract hours and roster patterns For automated leave to work, it needs to be accurate, too. Otherwise, we’ll always rely on manual entry. So in this feature, we’ll take rostered hours and usual hours worked, (contractually-bound or verbal). Then we combine them and form the entire leave request—making the hours as accurate as possible. And if you are in 24/7 industries like call centres and fire departments, good news. We’re releasing roster patterns soon. When applied, leave hours are matched with the roster pattern in use. Our end goal: an even higher form of automation Soon, you’ll only see it in a museum. This is what we’re eventually working towards: if we detect a statistically-significant pattern based on previous hours, these days and times get carried to the leave request. So to kill the dinosaurs of manual entry, that’s the great automated leave meteor we’re building. But to get to that, we need to work our way up. One small step for getting rid of manual corrections If a 3-days/week staff member requests a 2-week long leave, they get allocated 14 days leave pay—which is incorrect. So instead of approving, managers delete the leave request and create new ones. This is not an efficient use of time. And we’re happy to say you don’t have to do that anymore. You can now edit time breakdowns on leave requests. Ironically, our first step towards leave automation is manual (baby steps). You can manually assign the times match the correct leave hours (see visual below). This is likely to go live in the next couple of weeks. We’re hoping this is a helpful remedy in the meantime, but you won’t be doing this for long. Soon, it’ll be automated. Changing time breakdowns: our manual step to automation. Up next: automatically fill from roster. If staff are rostered during their leave dates, these hours are reflected on the request. Just check and approve. Then: change the roster cards. Before approving the leave request, change the affected shifts: Make the shift vacant and find a replacement Delete the shift if you don’t need it anymore. Usually applies for salaried staff. Keep the rostered shift and the leave card. Applies when staff work half a shift and then go home sick. We’re always listening. We talk about what we do a lot. But we also love to listen. If you have any feedback, suggestions, or general thoughts on this, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org We build features so you can succeed with your team. So we value your ideas. After all, you’re on the frontline. Thanks for being part of the team.